Tri-Town Weekly interviewed Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in advance of UMaine Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. McCarty will be one of several experts on hand for guided tours of backyards in Freeport and Brunswick for the event. During McCarty’s tour in Freeport, she will demonstrate how to increase self-sufficiency to meet food needs through backyard gardening techniques and food preservation methods. “I love Maine and believe it produces incredible food. I take every opportunity to support our local food producers, and it’s easy to do so with so many talented chefs, farmers, bakers, cheese makers and brewers,” McCarty said.
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University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.
To register, call 207.781.6099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a Cooking for Crowds workshop 12–4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at the UMaine Extension Penobscot County office, 307 Maine Ave., Bangor.
Learn up-to-date methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The workshop meets Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. It covers the following food safety guidelines: planning and purchasing; storing food supplies; preparing food; transporting, storing and serving cooked foods; and handling leftovers.
Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. Register online or bring a check to class. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Viña Lindley at 207.342.5971 or 800.287.1426 (in Maine).
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Harvest for Hunger program was the focus of the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke about the importance of the program that provides produce and recipes for those in need. This week, Master Gardener Volunteers at the Orono Community Garden will harvest greens for about 50 local senior citizens. Since Maine Harvest for Hunger began about 15 years ago, it has provided more than 1.6 million pounds of food for community members, according to the report.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about this year’s strawberry season. Handley said conditions have been ideal starting last fall and continuing through this week, when many farms in the Augusta area are opening for picking. He said the last two years the crop has come in early, but this year is a more normal ripening schedule. He said he expects the best strawberry crop Maine has had in three or four years.
Classes meet monthly from May through October at the UMaine Extension office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. The first class is 9-11 a.m. May 1; the final class is Oct. 9. UMaine Extension Somerset County staff will teach the classes and local Master Gardener Volunteers will work with participants in demonstration gardens throughout the growing season. Harvested produce will be shared with area schools and senior and food kitchen programs.
Course fee is $10 per person. Scholarships are available. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call Pete Bastien at 207.474.9622 or 1.800.287.1495 (in Maine). Requests received at least 10 days in advance are preferred; all requests will be accepted.
The Portland Press Herald advanced the 17th annual Portland Flower Show. The show will include an auction on Sunday, March 9, 2014 that will feature items donated by local garden centers, as well as plants and materials used in the show. Funds raised from the auction benefit the University of Maine Cooperative Extension demonstration garden in Falmouth and the Maine Harvest for Hunger Gardens program.
Plant Sale Benefits Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers
Order blueberry, strawberry, asparagus now for spring planting
Orders are being taken for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers “Grow it Right!” plant sale.
UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers support community gardens, grow and harvest food for the Maine Harvest for Hunger program and from June 2012 through May 2013 contributed more than 26,000 hours to community-based volunteer programs across the state. Plant sale funds will support the Master Gardener Volunteer program that has been active in the state for more than 30 years, including for educational projects and scholarship funding for Master Gardener Volunteer training.
A high-bush blueberry pack of three young plants (two varieties per pack) costs $35.95; a pack of 10 asparagus crowns costs $15; and a pack of 25 young dormant strawberry plants costs $15. All are suitable for Maine’s climate and will be ready for spring planting. Plants may be picked up Saturday, May 17, 2014, at a University of Maine Cooperative Extension county office of choice. Office locations are in Ellsworth, Bangor, Springvale, Falmouth, Waldoboro, South Paris, Dover-Foxcroft, Machias, and Highmoor Farm in Monmouth.
To order, or to watch video clips about site selection and soil testing, visit http://umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/benefit/. Purchasers will receive expert advice on growing blueberries, strawberries and asparagus at every stage, as well as a take-home package of instructions from Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers. To request a disability accommodation, or for more information, contact Richard Brzozowski at email@example.com, 207.781.6099 or toll-free in Maine at 800.287.1471; or Marjorie Peronto at firstname.lastname@example.org, 207.667.8212 or toll-free in Maine at 800.287.1479.
Amy Witt, home horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, spoke with The Forecaster for the article “Falmouth garden fertile ground for UMaine farm educators” about UMaine Extension’s Falmouth demonstration garden. Witt said common teaching themes at the garden include farming skills to help with food security and sustainable practices.
The Sun Journal reported on an outdoor cooking demonstration on how to steam green beans with dressing, which was hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Oxford County and River Valley Health Communities Coalition. Barbara Murphy, Maine Harvest for Hunger coordinator and extension educator in home horticulture and agriculture, said the demonstration was one of 12 cooking lessons to teach residents “how to be clever with their vegetables.”